Re: reading a book

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sun 24 Apr 2005 - 16:50:27 GMT

  • Next message: Kate Distin: "Re: reading a book"

    --- Keith Henson <> wrote:

    > At 08:10 AM 23/04/05 -0700, Scott Chase wrote:
    > snip
    > >I'm reminded of Keith Henson's frequent
    > >refrain about how a gene can exist in a cell or "on
    > >paper" since Aunger addresses this too. I think
    > Aunger
    > >is trying to diverge from the standard memetic
    > >assumption that memes can be represented as mental
    > >states, behaviors and artefacts.
    > One of the things valued in science is *simplicity.*
    > What is the same in a
    > stretch of DNA and a listing of that DNA on paper or
    > some other media? It
    > is the information.
    > Same with memes.
    > I don't know of exceptions to "memes are
    > information" in any of the major
    > resources about memes/memetics on the net.
    > Does a brain contain a meme? Observing behavior
    > will tell you. (Can the
    > kid tie his shoes? Does a person going into a dark
    > room feel for the light
    > switch? Does the hitter walk away from home plate
    > after failing to hit
    > three pitches?)
    > Does a printed page contain a meme? Have someone
    > read it and find out if
    > their brain now contains the meme by the above test.
    > Does an artifact contain a meme? That's harder.
    > Museums have these "what
    > it is?" displays. Sometimes nobody can figure out
    > what something was or
    > was used for.
    > But they often do. Reverse engineering has been a
    > substantial part of my
    > job at times.
    I'm not taking sides between your views and Aunger's
    (if there are sides to take). He did remind me of what you've said.

    He's trying, in his substrate specificity notion, to pin memes down as neural states. Now I'm in the part of the book where he struggles to get memes out in the open to have replicative effects on brains of others, the "Escape from planet brain".

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